tv Democracy Now LINKTV September 26, 2014 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
[captioning made possible by democracy now!] ♪ from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" >> over the last six years, our administration, your administration has made historic gains in realizing the principles of the founding documents and fought to protect the most sacred of american rights. the right to vote. >> after nearly six years in office, eric holder announces his resignation. how will history remember the
first african-american attorney general? for being a champion of voting and civil rights? for cropping -- cracking down on journalists? but not -- >> a federal court must authorize taking action. this is simply not action. >> we will host a roundtable on eric holder's record and legacy with robert wiseman, the naacp legal defense fund, and georgetown professor. all that and more coming up. welcome to "democracy now!." us-led war planes are bombarding
oil-producing facilities in eastern syria for a second day in a row in a bid to cut off key revenue from islamic state militants. according to u.s. central command, the refineries net about to million dollars per day. the pentagon said there're no credible reports of civilian deaths. u.s. planes are continuing to bomb iraq with at least 11 airstrikes on thursday. the pentagon spokesperson announced that the islamic state remains strong. >> this organization is still still has financing at their fingertips. they still have plenty of volunteers. they still have plenty of weapons and vehicles and the ability to move around. they could go -- still control a wide swath inside iraq. this is just the beginning. >> the british parliament is
going to vote on whether it will join the us-led airstrikes and iraq. the iranian president has blamed western intervention for the rise of the islamic state. he made the comments in his address to the united nations general assembly. >> certain states have helped create it. they are failing to withstand it. our peoples are paying the price. the anti-westernism is the offspring of yesterday's racism. certain intelligence agencies have put blades in the hands of mad men who now spare no one. all those who played a role in founding and supporting the terror groups must acknowledge their errors. >> islamic state militants have executed a prominent iraqi civil rights lawyer. she posted comments on social media criticizing the group's
distraction of religious sites. she was tortured for days and executed. in algeria terrorists executed a person in retaliation of french airstrikes and iraq. 15 people suspected of collaborating with authorities were reportedly beheaded. attorney general eric holder, the first african-american attorney general is resigning after nearly six years as head of the justice department. he made the announcement on thursday. >> i have loved to the department of justice ever since i watched robert kennedy proved during the civil rights movement how the department can and must always be a force for that which is right. i hope that i have done honor to the faith you have placed in may, mr. president, and to the
legacy of those who have served before me. >> he will remain in office until a successor is confirmed. while civil rights groups have praised his records on transforming the civil rights division of the justice department, the aclu criticized his role in nsa surveillance and obama's drone wars. we will have more on his record after headlines. the news of holder posta parch or broke as relatives of black men killed by police gathered in washington to call on the justice department to charge the officers involved. the mother of michael brown and the mother of eric garner, who was placed in an illegal police chokehold in new york, said local systems have failed to bring justice. >> the police are sitting back. they are still walking the street. they are still getting paid. >> i'm here in washington to ask
for help and gain justice for my son in missouri. missouri has not showed us anything that we are looking for. >> the police chief and ferguson, missouri has issued a video statement apologizing to the family of michael brown more than six weeks after shot michael brown dead and left his body in the street for four hours. he told the family he was sorry. >> i want to say, no one who has not experienced the loss of a child can understand what you are feeling. i am truly sorry for the loss of your son. i am also sorry that it took so long to remove michael from the street. the time that it took involved very important work on the part of investigators who were trying to collect evidence and gain a true picture of what happened that day. but it was just too long and i am truly sorry for that.
>> chief jackson apologized to "any peaceful protester who did not feel that i did enough to protect their constitutional right to protest." hours later, the chief took part in renewed protests over michael brown's death. four people were arrested. in hong kong, students are capping off a week of action demanding greater political freedom. thousands of college students launched a class boy scott -- boycott. last month, the chinese government rejected demands for hong kong to freely choose its next leader in 2017. in mexico, an army officer and seven soldiers have been detained over an alleged massacre in the southern state of mexico. the army claimed the victims died in a firefight in june. people were shot at chest level against a wall. all but one of the 22 people
killed were shot after they had surrendered. pope francis has removed a paraguayan bishop accused of covering up sexual abuse. he was a member of the right growing -- wing movement who was accused of sexually abusing students in a boarding school in pennsylvania. the vatican statement on his removal says nothing about the alleged abuse. the bishop had also alienated colleagues by forming his own more conservative seminary. his ouster came two days after the vatican announced it was placing a former bishop under house arrest in a separate case. he is accused of paying for sex with children while serving his vatican ambassador in the dominican republic. last month, pope francis reinstated in nicaraguan priest nearly three decades after he was suspended for his role in the sandinista government.
to see our interviews, you can go to our website at democracynow.org. u.s. aviation regulators have taken a major step to expanding the use of commercial drones. the faa will allow six hollywood companies to use drones equipped with cameras on film and tv sets. before thursday, the only approved use of commercial drones was in the arctic wilderness. yahoo! and google have become the latest companies to sever ties with the american legislative a change counsel -- exchange council. alec joins corporate lobbyists with state lawmakers to craft model bills nationwide. this week, in an interview with npr, the google chair said that funding alec had been a mistake and accused them of making the world a much worse place by
lying about climate change. in south carolina, a state trooper has been fired and arrested after shooting an african-american man four times as he reached for his drivers license during a stop for an alleged the belt -- seatbelt violation when he was at a gas station. footage from a dashboard camera shows lavar edward jones reaching for a license after the trooper asked to see it. as he reaches into the truck and then turns back around, he shoots him four times. jones, who has disappeared from the frame asks why he was shot. >> why did you shoot me? >> while you dove headfirst back into your car. i told you to get out of your car. >> i'm sorry. i didn't hear two words. >> the trooper has been charged with aggravated assault and could face up to 20 years in prison. in california, an african-american woman has won a
one point $5 million settlement after she was beaten by a california highway patrol officer -- $1.5 million settlement after she was been by a california highway patrol officer. the officer has agreed to resign. the associated press has named the national football league official who was sent a video back in april that showed baltimore ravens ray rice punching his fiancée. the tape was sent to nfl security chief jeffrey miller and a woman called back to confirm its receipt. miller claims he never received the tape. the nfl has repeatedly said that it did not see the video until it was released by tmz this month. espn writer bill simmons has been suspended for three weeks after accusing nfl commissioner roger goodell of lying about his knowledge of what was on the
tape. a u.s. army staff sergeant has been found guilty of sexually assaulting eight female soldiers under his command. angel sanchez was found to have used his position as a jewel sergeant to threaten victims and in one case grabbing a female soldier by the hair and forming -- forcing her to perform oral sex. her company was warned that none of them would graduate if any additional sexual complaints emerged. a new lawsuit the closes -- accuses mississippi's scott county of indefinitely holding prisoners without charge. the aclu filed a case on behalf of two men who have been held for nearly a year without an indictment or appointment of legal counsel. a federal agency has filed a landmark series of lawsuits over discrimination of transgender people in the workplace. the equal opportunity employment commission has accused
businesses of illegally firing transgender workers. it is the first time the agency has sued over discrimination against transgender people. those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!" attorney general eric holder announced his plan to resign thursday after nearly six years after -- as head of the justice department. he will remain in office until a successor is confirmed. >> over the last six years, our administration, your administration has made his story gains in realizing the principles of the founding documents and fought to protect the most sacred of american rights. the right to vote. we have begun to realize the promise of equality for our lgbt brothers and sisters and their families. we have begun to reform the criminal justice system.
we have kept faith with our belief in the power of the greatest judicial system the world has ever known to fairly and effect of lee adjudicate any cases that are brought before it. -- effectively adjudicate any cases that are brought before it . we have taken steps to protect the environment and make more fair the rules by which our commercial enterprises operate. we have held accountable those who would harm the american people through violent means or the misuse of economic or political power. >> assessments of his legacy have been mixed. the naacp legal defense fund hails him as one of the finest attorneys general and -- in united states history and part for transforming the civil rights division of the justice department and his leadership on voting rights. the aclu criticized holder on
national security issues. the aclu notes during his time in office the justice department approved the drone killing of an american in yemen approved the nsa master surveillance programs, failed to prosecute push it is our torture , and presided over more linked prosecutions -- the leaked prosecutions. we held a roundtable. joining us, the president of public citizen. the washington director of the naacp legal defense fund. and the university professor of sociology at georgetown. here in new york, the legal director of the center for constitutional rights is with us. we welcome you all to "democracy now!" let's begin in washington dc. let's go to the naacp legal defense fund. your assessment of eric holder's
record. were you surprised by his announcement? >> i was surprised that it happened yesterday. there have been rumors about his impending departure for some time. he himself had said that he was going to wait until the november elections. i think we were taken a little bit off guard in terms of the actual day that it happened. we have expected this for some time now. >> talk about his record. talk about his record in your assessment. >> we think that he will go down in the history books as one of the nation's finest and most extraordinary attorneys general. he will be right up there alongside bobby kennedy. it is not only for his aggressive enforcement of civil rights cases, but he has shown commitment and vision and
courage in the way that he has used the platform of his office to really advance in national conversation on race. i think when his legacy is brought out, that is what people are going to remember about him. he was unafraid to talk about race in this country. that is what he will be remembered for most. >> president obama applauded eric holder for his work combating financial fraud. >> since 2009, the justice department has brought more than 60 cases against financial institutions and has won some of the largest settlements in history. they recovered $85 billion.
much of it returned to ordinary americans who were badly hurt. >> that is president obama hailing the record of eric holder. it might be a long time before he leaves because a replacement will have to be approved. >> i think that eric holder's record in the area of financial fraud and holding corporate criminals accountable is really radically different than his record in civil rights and voting rights. in this area, he has failed utterly. no one has been held accountable for the wall street crash. none of the executives, none of the firm's, for widespread financial misdeeds that led to the worst recession we have faced in seven years. millions of people being thrown out of homes. there was basically immunity. when the department of justice found evidence of large
financial firms engaging in epic level money laundering on behalf of narcotraffickers and countries the u.s. government considers to be enemies, it still decided to not criminally prosecute them on the grounds that they were too big to fail or too big to jail. if you were a financial institution, you become big enough and powerful enough, you are above the criminal law. unfortunately, that too is going to be a major part of his legacy. >> your assessment, michael eric dyson? >> i agree with attorney prole. he is one of the most extraordinary attorneys general of the nation. he may be the third longest-serving attorney general ever. he has weathered the storm of an enormous racial backlash against black people in power at the top. he is arguably the second-most
powerful black person in the history of american politics after the president himself. this is a man who was a proxy for the president in many ways, in terms of a symbolic representation of black power and the way in which that has been responded to by such a vicious and acrimonious, if you will, articulations by people in the senate, people questioning the attorney general, by politicians who felt open season on him. as a result of that, when we look at his record, we have to put it in the context of the abstract versus the real. the abstract versus what is achievable. in a similar van that had barack obama coming to office and allow the financial institutions to fail, you cannot overcome that headline. the nation's first black president allows the financial institutions to fail. there is nothing that we can do or say that would have counteracted that particular reality and that headline.
eric holder, look, we are not saying he is perfect because no attorney general or politician is. what we are saying is that in light of what we did, you cannot worry about being sued. you cannot worry about financial malfeasance. if you are in prison or jail and you happen to be an ordinary citizen those things are really incredibly important. while the criminals who have continued financial malfeasance in this country. but what he has done for the criminal justice system and for sentencing and for mandatory sentencing and for racial profiling, what he has done to combat police brutality what he has done to say that the american voting rights act should be protected, and his creative use of different aspects of different sections when others were gutted by the supreme court has to be knowledged. my colleagues on the left sometimes neglect what is
important to the masses and millions of people who were never under the purview even of the white left to be concerned about some of the issues that african american people and latino people and many other religious and ethnic minorities have been concerned about eerie at in that case, he will stand tall in the history of american jurisprudence. >> let's turn to comments president obama made on counterterrorism. >> he has worked side by side with our intelligence community and the department of homeland security from terrorist attacks and to counter violent extremists. federal courts have successfully prosecuted hundreds of terror cases proving that the world's finest justice system is fully capable of delivering justice to the world's most wanted terrorists. >> the legal director of the center for constitutional rights is also with us. your response to his overall
record. >> regarding the intersection of national security and civil rights, i think that he has had a very troubling legacy. most fundamentally by extending and solidifying the wartime architecture and narrative into our legal system. in some ways, he has been an extension of the bush administration's justice department around in toughening detention at guantánamo, the warrantless surveillance of u.s. citizens, and in some areas has gone farther around the targeting of journalists who seek to expose illegal federal government misconduct and the use of targeted killing practices to execute u.s. citizens without due process. >> was there an alternative? >> certainly.
the alternative have been articulated fundamentally by president obama or candidate obama. rolling back some of the excesses and rejecting the false choice between national security and civil rights. that alternative was not pursued. in fact, we sort of double down. now that the bush administration practices around national security are not exceptional anymore, they have been solidified. there has been strengthening of the ties between wartime and law. that is going to take a long time to undo. >> we will continue with this discussion after break. stay with us.
>> here on democracy now! when speaking at the naacp convention last year, attorney general eric holder do parallels -- drew parallels between himself and trayvon martin. >> the news of trayvon martin's death last year and the discussions that have taken place since then reminded me of my father's words so many years ago. they brought me back to a number of experiences i had as a young man, when i was pulled over twice and my car searched on the new jersey turnpike when i'm sure i was not speeding. or when i was stopped by a police officer was simply running to catch a movie at night in georgetown in washington dc.
i was at the time of that last incident a federal prosecutor. [laughter] trayvon's death caused me to sit down and have a conversation with my own 15-year-old son like my dad did with me. this was a father-son tradition i hoped would not need to be handed down. >> that is eric holder. michael eric dyson, your response to what he said, but also to what our guests have said so far in concern about really taking on issues of racial profiling, but when it comes to u.s. citizens targeted for drone strikes, his record there. >> there is no question that his appeal to the existential, to the personal added a half, a
gravitas to his statements and personal testimony. there is a reasonable way in which one could highlight underscore, and embrace the issue of race while at the same time talking about principles that can be universally applied. i think that when he spoke before the naacp, he did the nation a great service. he suggested that the citizens of color who happen to be african-american are worthy of the respect of the state, not to be arbitrarily targeted by them. the protection and service the should be rendered by police should be extended to african-american, latino poor white people, and all others equally. equal treatment under the law and equal justice is extraordinarily important. i think his record in that regard will stand the test of time. of course, we talk about the conflicts, the contradictions, the broader conceptions of american democracy and its applications. in that case, where as eric holder has much more direct
control over events forces, and realities in the context of the department of justice, when we are talking about the other issues my colleagues of -- alluded to, we are talking about the interactions between the president of the united states of america and the justice department. you are talking about the veil being expanded and eric holder alone cannot shoulder the burden of that. are the conflicts in contradictions sure. in terms of ascribing responsibility, that is a much more muddy conversation. >> let me play for you eric holder at northwestern university law school arguing fee obama administration had the right to kill u.s. citizens who belonged to al qaeda. >> some have argued the president is required to get permission from a federal court before taking action against a united states citizen who is a senior operational leader of al qaeda or associated forces.
this is in play not accurate. -- simply not accurate. due process and judicial process are not one and the same particularly when it comes to national security. the constitution guarantees due process, it does not guarantee judicial process. >> look, he is obviously supplying judicial predicates for what he felt was a righteous response by the president. there are those of us who severely and strongly disagree with that. who would suggest that there are other alternatives available. as a justice department official, as the headlong give or so to speak or lock keeper, his role is one that is divided. he is responsible to the broader american public. that is why the attorney general's office is the most independent of cap member -- cabinet member appointments and
on the other hand serving at the pleasure of the president of the united states. that is an internal contradiction that will not be resolved by eric holder. in terms of the actual practice, we know that being involved in the so-called war on terror, which does continue language of the bush administration, these are very new times and discerning the difference between traditional conceptions of war, where combatants are easily established, versus the war of terror or "the war on terror" where combatants are not in glee -- easily distinguishable and vicious acts of been perpetrated in the names of those who have legitimate rights and complaints about the practices of the united states of america or other legally established governments leads us into very, very new terrain. of course, mistakes will be made. we have to continue to grapple with that. the underlying principle of not
targeting people because of their ethnicity, their race, the religious orientation is a huge move forward in terms of the islamophobia that has pervaded in much of the war. >> as someone who does believe that the president needs some judicial review before executing u.s. citizens and as a lawyer with fairly -- it was fairly shocking to hear in a law school audience particularly the due process does not require judicial process, the essence of due process for hundreds of years is that executive officials do not get to themselves decide how to deprive individuals of rights and that the judiciary does have to be involved. that analysis was one that gave legal cover to policy decisions of the executive branch. it collapsed the distinction between war and the constitution in a troubling way that the
prior justice department had. what is disappointing this is great empathy and thoughtfulness about the role of race in this country and violence in this country i would have hoped could have informed the use of war and state violence against detainees in guantánamo, innocent civilians killed abroad, and the simple perpetuation of raw executive power under legal cover. >> i wanted to turn to eric holder talking about robert kennedy. this was yesterday at the white house when he announced his resignation. he has announced his resignation, but he will probably serve for quite some time because not only would a replacement have to be nominated
, but he would have to be approved by congress. >> i have loved the department of justice ever since as a young boy i watched robert kennedy proved during the civil rights movement held the department can and must always be a force for that which is right. i hope that i have done on her to the faith you have placed in me, mr. president, and to the legacy of those who have served before me. >> the significance of these comparisons and the particular cases. >> i think that eric holder viewed robert kennedy as his role model. that was a guiding light for his tenure in the department. eric holder, it was very personal for him, this connection to robert kennedy.
eric holder's sister-in-law was one of the students who desegregated the university of alabama. her name was vivian malone. she is one of the two students who governor george wallace blocked in the schoolhouse door from entering the campus under a court order to desegregate that school. the justice department, under the leadership of robert kennedy, was actually the agency that asked governor wallace to step aside and allow the students to enter into the campus. it was robert kennedy who sent his civil rights deputies who negotiated the entrance of eric holder's sister-in-law into that university. it is a pivotal moment in civil
rights history. i have to think he remember that every day of his tenure. he said he had a painting of robert kennedy in his office. i think that was very personal for him because his family, more than most, understood the role of the justice department and it civil rights division in enforcing civil rights laws. he certainly carried that out with respect to a host of areas. certainly, he talked about his legacy and mentioned voting rights. this is something he will be remembered for. he defended the voting rights act when it was under attack in the courts. essentially the constitutionality of it. his lawyers defended that act in federal court. when the federal court struck down a key section of that act
he would not retreat. he said, i am going to use the other provisions of the act to enforce the voting rights act. he filed lawsuits right away after the decision in texas and north carolina. in these last three weeks, the legal defense fund has been working side-by-side with his lawyers in the texas litigation. he has been unabashedly and unafraid to use the civil rights laws where he could. that is going to be part of his legacy, that he was willing to aggressively enforce these laws when it comes to fair housing, fair lending, education, desegregation, employment discrimination. in the area of criminal justice reform, that is going to be another key legacy of his. he used the power of his position to talk about the
unfairness of mandatory minimums and to take steps, through policy and through telling his prosecutors not to overcharge when there was a nonviolent drug offender. how are we as a country going to help exiting from confinement and dealing with the collateral consequences, such as the 20 interagency tack force. that will be another part. >> eric holder suggested that some banks are too big to jail. >> the size become so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if we do prosecute, if you do bring a
criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy. i think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large. i'm not talking about hsbc. this is a more general comment. it has an inhibiting impact on our ability to bring resolutions that i think would be more appropriate. >> he set to clarify the department of justice' position. >> why would i be any place other than right here and right now to talk to the people in this area who are deserving of our attention and who we want to help? that is the main part of this trip. are there ways in which we can help? >> that was eric holder in ferguson. i want to get to that in a moment.
very unusual for an attorney general to make that trip. on the issue of too large to fail, first. >> i think there is a totally different story here. his record in civil rights and voting rights is impressive and important and it will be a defining element of his legacy. not just what he did, but what he said. it was really unusual unfortunately unusual, for any cabinet official to speak aggressively and openly and honestly about race or about much else and use their power to try to change a national conversation. he deserves a ton of credit for that. however, in the area of financial fraud and holding corporate criminals accountable it is a really different story. there was a decision made for this is not a decision of alonso any video besides eric holder coming to the top lieutenant, he
decided not to prosecute him for other executives on hospital responsible for the crash and other wrongdoing and how to go after the institution of the criminally accountable. if reported rationale for that was what he said in the first clip. businesses that are so large variety similar overall in fact of national economy. what evolved was this idea of too big to jail. the companies could not be criminally prosecuted because they are too big. that is turning every element of criminal justice upside down. if you become so large and powerful that you rise above the criminal law due to your size and power, you become immune from criminal prosecution. it is really perverse. maybe it is true. but if that is true, you have got to say that the institutions are too big to exist and try to break them up something that is
within the authority of the department of justice and there was no hint of that from eric holder's doj. >> michael eric dyson, your response. >> in the abstract, absolutely agree. when we look at the malfeasance and the kind of corruption that really was pervasive in the entire infrastructure. but a couple of things. first of all, the people that took the brunt of the mortgage crisis happen to be african-american people. if anybody is invested in trying to recoup some of that, it would be those people. the redistributive mechanism that might restore some of the capital to those folks was never the interest of many of my colleagues who are concerned about it. they just want to put in jail the ceos and the others who did all this stuff but they are not concerned about the redistributive mechanisms that
allow these people to regain. even if you put those guys in jail, the people at the bottom continue to suffer and there is no direct response to that. number two, if we are going to talk about this in the actual, political context that exists let's be real. if president barack obama can't be seen as too gruffly treating white americans, vis-à-vis the situation where he said the policeman was acting stupidly what do you think will happen if eric holder as the first african-american attorney general, is seen to be going after mostly white ceos and other corporate titans within the economic infrastructure? it sounds great on the one hand. it is an ignore meant of our here and stay rational principles of the poor and vulnerable. in the real political context in
which we exist, you are underestimating the pervasive character of race, how it has shaped the lens through which we perceive these issues and unfortunately the optics on black men at the top, barack obama and eric holder exercising a certain kind of aggressive posture toward these particular entities or individuals is being underestimated here. barack obama has receded in light of that kind of vicious rachael ray action -- racial reaction. eric holder has said that he is going to intervene at certain significant points. to ask them to do the whole thing and overcome an entire history and structural and perceptual any qualities that exist, i think that is asking too much. >> too much? >> no. i strongly disagree with this. first of all, if you let the criminals get off the hook come in they are going to do it again. if you care about protecting the
communities, you have to hold them accountable. it is not an abstract principle. it has real application. a crisis that was induced by these wall street executives devastated communities across the country, especially poor and low income communities. and it is going to happen again. it is a certainty if we don't have a change and hold people accountable for what they are doing. was it impossible? for eric holder to prosecute these people? no, it was not. 20 years ago, the savings-and-loan crisis, nothing compared to the $14 trillion in losses from this crisis, 1000 people want to jail. they can be prosecuted. >> who was the attorney general then? >> there was not an african-american attorney general. >> that is all and sang, brother. >> you can't say -- >> that is all i'm saying. >> you can ignore knowledge that. he faced all kinds of unfairness
because he is an african-american in the job. it doesn't mean he is not responsible for doing the job. he was more gentle on corporate criminals than any predecessor. so one thing that has really evolved in the last 15 years is the use of what is known as deferred and nonprosecution agreements. these are deals with large corporations that have committed criminal acts, but the government says we are not going to criminally prosecute you come a we are going to enter into a nonprosecution agreement. if you promise to not to do this same thing in the future, we will let you pay money and get off. the government under eric holder did that 150 times. 150 times. it has been done maybe 100 in history prior to the obama administration. there has been more use of this kind of tactic to be gentler with corporate criminals than there has been in the entirety of the department of justice history. >> we are going to break and
come back to the discussion. i will to bring up the issue of journalists. not only talking about the crackdown on corporations, but on journalists and the surveillance of and arrest of journalists. and get response to what is happening right now in the country around voting rights. we are talking to the president of public citizen, the legal director of constitutional rights we have with us in washington also the professor of sociology at georgetown and the washington directory of the naacp legal defense fund. stay with us. ♪ [music break] ♪
>> were he to come back to the united states and enter a plea, we would engage with his lawyers. >> that would be a guilty plea? >> we are talking about the life and legacy of eric holder as he announces yesterday that he is resigning as attorney general. when he actually will step down will be very interesting considering how the logjam there is in washington right now, the deadlock between republicans and democrats. our guests today. the issue of the significance of eric snowden and what the u.s. government has done. he is in political asylum in russia. he wants to come home. >> in general, what we have seen in combination with perpetuating
illegal federal government practices in the national security area is on the other hand secrecy and protecting government secrets. the legality and the secrets are braided together. what is particularly troubling is when journalists or other whistleblowers who try to expose the secrecy, the response has been to crackdown in an unprecedented way on journalists, on whistleblowers by using a fairly odious 1917 law called the espionage act which was designed to repress dissent during wartime. it is now clear that edward snowden has done us a service by exposing a deep illegality in the federal government and widespread surveillance that the
government tried to keep secret. i think that he need not be punished in the same way as this administration has tried to punish other journalists and whistleblowers, including julian assange. >> the phrase most often used in describing eric holder and president obama is saying that president obama has presided over more prosecutions of whistleblowers than all presidents in history combined. eric holder is pivotal to this. >> just like -- as brother weis sman was talking earlier -- i don't have any principled disagreement in the abstract of the arguments being made. again, here, i can't defend as a person who makes a living in part as a journalist and as a public intellectual, any kind of unjust assault upon the privileges and freedoms that they incur -- that they enjoy.
there are no doubt there are contradictions going on here and some fundamentally disturbing and troubling aspects to the legacy. i don't deny that at all. i think that in regard to the edward snowden tradition, as attorney general and as president, saying that the national security under their purview and being privy to information at the rest of the public is not privy to carries its own weight. the counterargument is that if you're going to talk about a sunshine hall where we expose in transparency all of the elements that make up the decisions we make about what gets protected and what does not in terms of information national security, then whistleblowers become critical and extremely important and i understand the argument here vis-à-vis mr. snowden and why they are snowed -- so troubling. >> the new york times james reisman said that president
obama is the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation. >> that could turn out to be true. i hope not. [laughter] the reality is is that there are chilling effects in terms of the decisions that have been made. vis-à-vis president obama. it has to be reckoned with. i'm not here to defend anybody's record across the board. there will always be lapses in contradictions. some of which are fundamental and some of which are troubling. it is to big knowledge that we cannot only talk about that. we can talk about the master d porter vis-à-vis the issue of immigration. what >> what happens next? he has announced he is stepping down. how long do you think he will be staying?
>> i think you will be there for a while. we have to put pressure on the president to say, choose a person who can carry the water that eric holder has carried in so many significant ways. my colleagues have already indicated some of the lapses and contradictions and troubling and chilling consequences. when you look at the box score. i am not dismissing the legitimate critique on any area. when you look at the extraordinary work that eric holder has done, the good that he has achieved, and the impact on the domestic, sometimes international sphere you have to ignore that we should have at least another attorney general who would carry that weight forward and we cannot use the excuse that the senate might change, the numbers of republicans might democrats might alter, and as a result of that, we might tamp down on some of the edifying fury that eric holder has brought to his job. i say we go in the opposite
direction. we make certain we carry on the legacy that this man has created . let us not subvert it with a tepid and lukewarm response to the politics. >> i want to thank michael eric dyson. i want to thank the washington director of the naacp legal defense fund. also the legal director of the center for constitutional rights. and the president of public citizen. other big news this week. the resumption of bombing of syria and iraq going after the islamic state. we end today's's show where it began. the largest climate march in history to lace on sunday -- took place on sunday. we will end with one of the most memorable speeches that took place on tuesday. it was a letter that she had written to her child. >> you are a seven-month-old
sunrise o f gummy smile bald as an egg bald as a buddha. i want to tell you about that lagoon. that lazy, lounging lagoon lounging against the sunrise. men say that one day, that lagoon will devour you. they say it will not the shoreline, chiu at the roots of the trees, gulp down the seawalls, and crunch through your island. they say that you, your daughter, and your granddaughter will wander rootless, with only a passport to call home. don't cry. mommy promises you, no one will come in devour you.
no greedy whale of a company sharking through political sees no backwater bullying of businesses with broken morals no blindfolded bureaucracy is going to push this mother ocean over the edge. no one is drowning, baby. no one is moving, no one is losing their homeland. no one is becoming a climate change refugee. or should i say, no one else. to the islanders, i take this moment to apologize to you. we are drawing the line here because we are going to fight. your mommy and daddy, your country and your president, we will all fight. even those hidden behind platinum titles who like to pretend that we don't exist, who like to pretend that the marshall islands, the maldives, the philippines, algeria,
columbia pakistan, the hurricanes, earthquakes, and title ways did not exist still there are those who cs. -- see us. hands reaching out, fists raising up, banners unfurling megaphones booming. we are the radiance of solar villages. we are the fresh clean soil of the farmers paths. we are teenagers. we are families. we are bicycling, recycling, reusing, and artists, painting dancing, writing, and we are spreading the words. there are thousands out on the streets marching hand in hand, chanting for change now. they are marching for you, baby. it they are marching for us. because we deserve to do more than just survive.